The executor or liquidator is the person who will administer a given estate after its owner has passed away. Among these administrative tasks, the liquidator will be the sole responsible to collect the assets, make an inventory, liquidate the debts, and allocate the residue to the beneficiaries. Needless to say, these tasks may become highly complex and time-consuming.

Hence, it is essential that the liquidator fully understand the extent of the responsibilities that will come along with such a function.

In any given case, the role of the liquidator will always be continuous[1], voluntary[2], revocable[3], private[4] and remunerable.

Anyone capable of fully exercising her/his civil rights may become a liquidator[5]. Except for a testamentary disposition to the contrary, the successors to the estate are ipso facto liquidators of said estate. Nevertheless, several family disputes may be avoided if the liquidator is selected during the estate planning process.

Moreover, it is essential that a liquidator be named in the will of the deceased. Indeed, being a crucial part of the estate liquidation, should there be no liquidator, the Court would be obliged to appoint one; a process that could be highly onerous.

Similarly, an alternate liquidator should be named in case the original liquidator cannot or will not perform such a role. In this scenario, should there not be an alternate liquidator, the Court would be obliged to appoint one. Finally, whether it is by designation or by appointment, such an action must be registered at the Registre des droits personnels et réels mobiliers (RDPRM) and/or the Registre foncier in order for it to be valid vis-à-vis third parties[6].

It is important to mention that the liquidator is personally liable for any negligent, fraudulent or incomplete acts that he may undertake while in the execution of his functions. It is therefore highly recommended to resort to the expertise of a legal advisor under all circumstances.

[1] Pursuant to section 791 paragraph 2 of the Civil Code of Quebec.

[2] Pursuant to section 784 of the Civil Code of Quebec. Except where the liquidator is the sole successor; case in which he will be obliged to accept the role of liquidator.

[3] Pursuant to section 791 paragraph 1 of the Civil Code of Quebec.

[4] Pursuant to section 790 paragraph 1 of the Civil Code of Quebec.

[5] Pursuant to section 783 of the Civil Code of Quebec.

[6] Pursuant to section 26 of the Loi modifiant le Code de procédure civile en matière notariale et d’autres dispositions, L.Q. 1998, c. 51.

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The above noted text should not be construed as providing legal advice or a statement of your claim. The process highlighted above are merely parameters and barometers and do not constitute any warranties and guaranties with regards to your file at hand. We strongly recommend that you seek legal advice with a licensed attorney from the Barreau du Quebec or a notary at the Chambre des Notaires. Each case must be seen and analysed on its merits as the legal process may be complex and cumbersome.